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Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma/AN01999
- With Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.James Li, M.D.
"People with allergy or asthma can lead full and healthy lives." — Dr. James Li
Dr. James Li is chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist. He hopes his expertise and the information on the site educates health care consumers in an area of rapid change both in medications and diagnoses.
"There are a lot of misperceptions about allergy and asthma," says Dr. Li, a New York City native who has been with Mayo since 1985 and works with a group of subspecialists in allergy, asthma and immunology. "I believe it's important to provide truthful, accurate information about allergy and asthma to the public. The more people know, the better they can take care of these conditions."
Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He's a past director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He's a fellow in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology with its Special Recognition Award.
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
- Asthma and acid reflux: Are they linked?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Albuterol side effects: What's normal?
- LABAs for asthma — Should I stop taking them?
Lifestyle and home remedies (3)
- Ozone air purifiers: Can they improve asthma symptoms?
- Asthma diet: Does what you eat make a difference?
- Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?
- Hygiene hypothesis: Early germ exposure prevents asthma?
Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?
Why do my asthma symptoms seem to get worse during my period?
from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Just before and during your period, levels of progesterone and estrogen decrease. In some women, these hormone changes may worsen asthma. The relationship between hormones and asthma is complex, varies between individuals and isn't fully understood.
Along with women's menstrual cycles, other things that cause changes in hormone levels may also worsen or improve asthma symptoms. These include:
- Irregular periods. Asthma symptoms in women with irregular periods may be worse than they are in women who have regular periods.
- Birth control medications. Birth control pills and shots affect estrogen and progesterone levels and may ease asthma symptoms in some women.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy may increase the risk of having a severe asthma attack. For some women, however, hormone changes during pregnancy may actually improve asthma symptoms.
- Menopause. Dropping hormone levels associated with menopause may make asthma symptoms worse for some women.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement with estrogen or progesterone may improve asthma symptoms in some women who have gone through menopause. But, study results are conflicting, and hormone replacement appears to worsen asthma in some women.
If you have bothersome asthma symptoms during your period, your doctor may recommend that you increase your asthma control medication or take a different medication before your period starts.Next question
Hygiene hypothesis: Early germ exposure prevents asthma?
- Van de Berge M, et al. The role of female sex hormones in the development and severity of allergic and non-allergic asthma. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2009;39:1477.
- Mangan JM, et al. Trigger control to enhance asthma management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 9, 2011.
- Real FG, et al. Hormonal factors and respiratory health in women: A review. The Clinical Respiratory Journal. 2008;10(suppl):111.
- Chen W, et al. Gender difference, sex hormones, and immediate type hypersensitivity reactions. Allergy. 2008;63:1418.